Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.
Each year Montana Audubon recognizes its heroes and honors its champions at our Bird Festival. The complete list of individuals recognized through our awards can be downloaded here: MT_Audubon_Award_List.
Lewis Young ~ Lifetime Achievement Award
This year, Montana Audubon recognized an individual who has given a great deal of time, energy and hard work to Audubon and conservation in Northwestern Montana for our Lifetime Achievement Award: Lewis Young. We recognized Lewis for:
His professional contributions to conservation by:
His years of active service to Flathead Audubon, including as:
And for his long-term active service to other wildlife by his:
We applaud Lewis for his commitment to Audubon and bird (and bat) conservation—as well as his work and contributions to the state of Montana.
Denny Olson- Educator of the Year
This year Montana Audubon presented Denny Olson with our Educator of the Year Award. Denny has been teaching about nature and conservation for 46 years. He has authored 5 natural history books, and trained thousands of naturalists, teachers, and students in storytelling techniques.
This award celebrates Denny’s many education accomplishments, including:
Denny has forged an unlikely union between science, humor, and drama—and established a reputation as an innovative performer and conservation educator. Flathead Audubon—and the Kalispell area—are lucky to have such a dedicated educator in their midst.
Dan Bennett ~ Conservationist of the Year Award
This year, Montana Audubon and Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon recognized Dan Bennett for his commitment to conservation with our 2018 Conservationist of the Year Award.
As examples of Dan’s dedication, he has:
It’s probably impossible to estimate the number of hours that Dan has provided to Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon.
We appreciate Dan’s work, and thank him for his tireless efforts and commitment to Audubon, birds, natural resource conservation, and the state of Montana!
Steve Gniadek ~ Citizen Scientist of the Year Award
Birds are the heart of Montana Audubon. This year we would like to recognize a professional scientist who is now turning into a volunteer “citizen scientist” in his retirement. He has contributed significantly to our understanding of birds—and many other wildlife species—particularly in the Glacier National Park Area, where he worked between 1987 and 2009. It is my pleasure to honor Steve Gniadek with our 2018 Citizen Scientist of the Year Award.
As examples of some of the work that Steve has done:
Whether working as a professional biologist, or advocating as a citizen, Steve has always been a strong voice for all wildlife and their habitats. He has a long-term history of standing up for what is right when it comes to wildlife, including birds.
In order to do our conservation work, it is essential for us to understand where wildlife species live in our state and how their distribution and population changes over time.
Because of their critical role in wildlife and ecosystem information, we recognized the Montana Natural Heritage Program (Heritage Program) with our 2017 Conservationist of the Year Award. Montana Audubon is particularly grateful for the program’s housing of the Montana Bird Distribution database, mapping Important Bird Area boundaries, and developing the state’s first wetland and riparian habitat maps.
So how is Heritage Program data used? The information is primarily used in environmental reviews conducted by local, state, federal, and tribal governments, and private consulting firms, to better understand the impacts of mining, timber sales, subdivisions, utility and pipeline corridors, oil and gas developments, highway construction projects, and more.
Good information is critical to protecting and maintaining our state’s valuable natural heritage—especially as the state continues to grow and develop. We are pleased to recognize the Montana Natural Heritage Program for this work in this area.
This year, Montana Audubon recognized a hard-working, dedicated volunteer with our Lifetime Achievement Award: Beth Hill
Beth has donated thousands of hours of work to the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Chapter:
Beth: we appreciate and thank you for your tireless work and commitment to Audubon!
This year Montana Audubon presented a Special Achievement Award to Gail Engler, for her tireless work and dedication to the establishment of a permanent endowment fund in honor of her parents: the George and Laurene Engler Montana Audubon Conservation Endowment.
George Engler was deeply involved with conservation issues. As Supervisor of the Lewis and Clark National Forest he successfully resisted unrestrained forest clear-cutting and helped foster the protection of the Rocky Mountain Front. George also co-founded the Great Falls Conservation Council, which brings together conservationists for a monthly program to learn and network with each other, and the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon chapter.
Laurene Engler also supported many conservation causes. Her efforts were often behind the scenes, but she was no less enthusiastic about the importance of conserving the land and keeping it accessible so future generations could enjoy it.
To learn more about George and Laurene, click HERE.
Finally, please support the Engler Endowment (click HERE). And because of the very generous Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Chapter, each dollar given to this fund in 2017, up to $5,000, will be matched.
We are pleased to recognize Gail for her work for birds, conservation, Montana Audubon, and the state of Montana—in perpetuity!
Many Montanans care about birds. However, extremely few devote the greater portion of their lives to these winged wonders. Because of their life-long devotion to birds, Montana Audubon is pleased to recognize Chuck and Jean Carlson with a 2017 Special Achievement Award.
Specifically we thank them for:
We are privileged and proud to know Jean and Chuck—and pleased to recognize them for their outstanding work for birds, Audubon, and the state of Montana.
These awards were presented at our annual Bird Festival in Missoula in 2015. We recognize these individuals and groups for their excellent work:
These awards were presented at our annual Bird Festival in Helena in 2015. We recognize these individuals and groups for their excellent work: